Saturday, September 29, 2012

::junior church game::

I thought I'd share a game I'm making for the kids at church tomorrow.  I frequently feel that I run out of ideas so when the creative urge strikes, I try to run with it.  Maybe some of the games I post here will be help + blessing to someone else.

I love the dot-to-dot game so here is my version!

Simply take a blank piece of poster board and plaster it with Post-It an orderly fashion, of course.  :)

I used three different prizes this week and alternated them between all of the squares.
But, here's the kicker.  I'm using these pumpkin manipulatives for a twist.  The kids will choose a pumpkin and on the back is a number.  That's the number of lines they get to draw.  And there's even a few "4" pumpkins which means that kid is an instant winner!

So that's my game for tomorrow!

I hope everyone has a tremendously fantastic Sunday!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

::He's done the work::

When we hear Jesus say, "Blessed are the pure in heart," our"How am I going to be pure in heart? If ever I am to be blameless down to the deepest recesses of my intentions, You must do something mighty in me." That is exactly what Jesus Christ came to do.  He did not come to tell  us to be holy, but to make  us holy. --Oswald Chambers


Thursday, September 20, 2012

::ohmyword, the FOOOOOOD::

So, a question I've gotten a lot...[picture the person with a slight questioning look, head tilted slightly to the side, maybe a nice grimace...] So how was the food?

My response:  Ohmywordthefoodissoooogooooood.  <<<--------- said that fast.

How in the world can you beat vegetables picked straight from the garden that day, every day of the year?!!  Fresh, antibiotic, hormone-free meat.  No preservatives.  Just lots and lots of butter + cream + milk + salt. 

One afternoon, Carol and I went to the garden and picked fresh strawberries.  Then, meandered over to the lemon tree.  Yes, I said, lemon tree and casually picked a few lemons.  We then proceeded to make strawberry lemonade to accompany our dinner...or rather, our dinner was accompanying the strawberry lemonade.  If this were Twitter, the hashtag would be #sufferingfortheministryinAfrica.

On The Farm, my favorite meals were:  beef stroganoff, chicken curry, macaroni and cheese, roast lamb, roast beef, roast chicken, meat balls [mini meatloaves] .  See?!!  Like I said #sufferinginAfrica  I have no words to describe the meals I just listed.  And they were all accompanied by some sort of delicious rice/potatoes/nshima and gravy and creamy vegetables [creamed spinach was my favorite!!!!!!!!!]

At The Fig, my favorite things to eat were: meat pies [very similar to pot pies], samoosas [those from FH, they are similar to Mrs. Gentry's triangular egg rolls], chicken salad, a traditional English breakfast, milkshakes.

Basically, I need to exercise every day or I will gain weight.  The food is that good.

You should come visit someday and taste it for yourself.  :)


Monday, September 17, 2012


Of course, I saw exotic animals in Zambia.

NO, none of these animals were anywhere near Kabwe.  The only animal that came too close to comfort were little grey monkeys swinging through the trees by the hotel where we stayed in Livingstone.  Fortunately/unfortunately enough, I didn't see any [!!!!] snakes on my visit, except snakes that were in a glass case. 

And the only animals that I came into contact with were cows + dogs.  And you know how much I love dogs, don't you?!!!!  [That was sarcastic. I don't like dogs.]


Friday, September 14, 2012

::a sunrise and a new look::

I could list several [ahem, so many] favorite moments from my trip to Zambia. But morning, Bianca took me with on her morning run.

Oh my goodness.  The sun!!! rising over the fields of wheat/grain/whatever!!!! magical!!!!  glorious!!!! I wish I had my camera!!!!  I couldn't stop talking about it all day.

Just as I was falling to sleep Thursday night of this week, Bianca had embarked on her Friday morning run.  Two buzzes on the cell phone means either BBM [ie...Bianca or Natasha] or text message [Leon].  So I grab my phone and Bianca had sent me the picture above.  The morning sunrise!!!!!! on her run!!!!!!

So, when I go back to Zambia in December, BIANCA, PLEASE TAKE ME RUNNING AGAIN and I promise to bring my camera and take some good photos to share here.

In other news....DO YOU LIKE THE NEW BLOG DESIGN?!!!!  Because I really, really do.

Up there and to the right...the links are to...
#1 Etsy
#2 the story -- Cotton+Wood -- the new tagline -- me and Leon -- the whole she-bang!!!
#3 Pinterest
#4 the Big Cartel shop which will be moving to Zambia with me in 2013 and debuting at The Fig

Happy weekend, all.


::the story::2::

Fast forward to 2010 when our friends, Adam and Carol, knew the Lord had called them to Zambia.  They filled in for one year for the current missionaries to come back on furlough.  Adam and Carol arrived back in the States last September, 2011.

I started to hear more about Africa [Zambia] and it didn't sound so bad after all.  No, there are not snakes around every corner waiting to bite you.  No, you may not get sick the minute you enter the country; you actually can remain healthy.  No, it's not hot + dusty + sticky + nasty, all the time.  Actually, the weather can be quite nice.  Yes, the church and the people in it are wonderful people.  Yes, life is an adventure.  Yes, it's a wonderful life to serve the Lord wherever He has you.

The Lord slowly began working on my heart.

I had heard that Leon was planning to come visit for Preaching Conference in April.  So, I began praying in October for some very specific things.  I needed specific answers to prayer.

I can truly say from the time I met Leon in April until now, God has done this:

I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight:  I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:  And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.  Isaiah 45:2-3


Thursday, September 13, 2012

::Father, lead me::

O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me...Psalm 43:3

Long-distance relationships are hard + lonely + not for the faint-hearted like whoa! [<-----excuse the slang]

The Heavenly Father is teaching me a continuing lesson in patience [I am the ever-ready, never-patient student] and grace.

These are the times that I am reminded that I had better have a relationship with the Heavenly Father and live by the Holy Spirit's guidance or else I am and will continue to be a flop in life.  Life doesn't get easier just because all my wishes come true.

Tuesday and Wednesday have been absolutely beautiful, beautiful days.  I'm stretching out the flip-flop and sandal weather straight from Africa as long as I can.  Actually, I'm starting to dread the cooler weather, even though I've always been a big fan of the fall season.

Taking advantage of the gorgeous temps, I updated the photos in my Etsy shopRemember?!!!!  I have an Etsy shop filled with beautiful Bible verse cards to encourage you in your walk with the Lord!!!!

Here are a few of my favorites:

Check them out here >>> Yellow Hope

And the waterfall above was my music while photographing.  What is it that draws us to water?  Seriously.  It's the most calming sound.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

::helicopter ride over the Zambezi and the Falls::

One of the best parts about our trip to Livingstone [7 hours south of Kabwe] was a helicopter ride over the Victoria Falls and Zambezi River.

 It was so beautiful!!!! and so fun to see from above!!!!

...And points for using the word "majestic" twice.


Monday, September 10, 2012

::super cute::

The kids I nanny welcomed me back with a cake!!!  written in yellow!!!! and candles!!!!  and a song!!!!

It was so, so sweet.

And one of their favorite things to do is throw confetti from the balcony of their second floor onto me as I stand on the landing.  It's so adorable it about breaks my heart.  So I got a shower of yellow confetti Thursday afternoon.


Friday, September 7, 2012

::the story::1::

I have been wanting to share the story of how Leon and I met so I think I will do it in pieces to keep you coming back for more. :)

Really, our story starts years ago when my Pastor started a church in the town where I have grown up. Then, a bus route began picking up boys and girls for Sunday School through which Mrs. Gordon [wife of the first missionaries to Africa from our church] was reached. Then, a college was started. Here, Pastor and Mrs. Gordon met and were called to missions. They obeyed God's call and went to the country of Zambia, first to the villages and then to Kabwe over nine years ago. Leon was saved through the influence of a godly friend named George.  The Staal family gradually came to know the Lord over a few months time and have been at Independent Baptist Church of Kabwe since the beginning.

My parents came to Indiana in 1977 and have remained as active, faithful church members which greatly influenced my life to serve the Lord and follow Him.  My brother, Geoff, was called to missions several years ago and took a missions trip to Zambia in October of 2009.

Geoff absolutely loved his time there!  When he came back he said, "Rebecca, you would love it there." My response:  yah, right.  And, he said, "There's this really great guy in the church there."  To which I said:  whatever, that will never work.  A white guy?  In a church in Zambia?  Yah, right. 

But then he showed me a picture of this guy.

 Wow!!  He looks normal [and he's really good looking!!].......


Monday, September 3, 2012

::and look at these cuties::

Aren't these girls just the absolute cutest??!!!  

The kids at the church in Kabwe are so, so, so adorable.  You can imagine that the two beautiful girls with blonde hair are Leon's nieces [Madissen on the left; Teija on the right].  The other two cuties are Naomi [on the left] and Mercy [sitting right next to me].

The power was out in the church on my last Sunday night there.  So some of us were sitting on the steps waiting a bit before going into the dark auditorium.  No worries though, the power came on right right before church started.   Super-duper on-time and convenient those Zesco people are, I tell ya.

I'm going up to Michigan to spend a few days with my grandparents before I start work on Thursday.  Stretching out the month-long vacation a few days longer is what I do best.

On a serious note, my Opa [grandpa] was diagnosed with cancer the day I left for Zambia.  So, spending time with my grandparents is absolutely essential at this point.

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

What are your plans?


Saturday, September 1, 2012

::and I'm back::


Hello, everyone! I'm back from Zambia. 

Wow.  What a trip.  It was great, amazing, wonderful, awesome, life-changing (!!!!!!---no, I'm not engaged), fun, happy, and any other adjective you'd like to throw into the mix.

Leon and I were able to spend lots of time together.  Highlights include:::::::meeting his family (loved them, helloooooooo family that is reading this), meeting the church family, going to Livingstone, family dinners on the weekends, and lunches at The Fig.

I'll try to post a bit more over the next few weeks and start to share the story of how we met.

Yes, it's amazing.  And, yes, this relationship can only be attributed to the fact that God has orchestrated the entire thing.

Happy Sunday!